Initially, it was planned that all restrictions on social contacts would be lifted on June 21, but the government’s scientific advisers called for postponing this step due to the alarming situation with the spread of the Indian strain of coronavirus (aka “variant Delta”). Now it accounts for 90% of infections. The strain is thought to be about 60% more contagious than the Alpha variant, which was previously dominant in Britain, and is twice as likely to lead to the hospitalization of infected people.
Boris Johnson expressed confidence that after July 19, the decision will not have to be postponed again, but now a delay is necessary because haste can negate previous achievements in the fight against the epidemic.
The Prime minister noted that these 4 weeks will give additional time to vaccinate even more people.
“We will analyze the data on a daily basis, and if in two weeks we come to the conclusion that the risk has decreased, we will leave the opportunity to lift the restrictions earlier,” he said.
The only relaxation that will still come from June 21 is the lifting of the limit on the number of guests at weddings, which now stands at 30 people. Other restrictions will continue to apply — for example, restaurants can only serve customers at tables and no more than 6 people at a table; indoor dancing is prohibited, and outdoor areas are “not recommended”, night clubs remain closed. Meetings outside are allowed with up to 30 people, and indoors-up to 6 people, or no more than two households.
At the same time, 15 test mass events to study the risks of spreading the virus will take place as planned, including within the framework of Euro 2020.